EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC is mired in an eight-match winless streak, dating back to mid-June.
Los Locos have fallen from first to seventh place in the USL Championship’s Western Conference and have been outscored 12-3 in their last three games, all losses.
El Paso will look to snap out of the funk on Saturday on the road at Phoenix Rising at 9 p.m. MT in the Valley of the Sun.
Both sides have met five times in regular season play, three times in Phoenix where El Paso has a 1-2-0 record. Last season, Aaron Gomez scored the decisive winning penalty at Phoenix while a Lucho Solignac brace helped guide Locomotive to a 3-1 home victory.
Locomotive and fans of the club were glad to see beloved defender and captain Yuma make his return to the pitch last week against Miami FC, his first time in action since early May.
“I felt good and entered with a lot of desire,” Yuma said in Spanish during a post-training interview. “The guys know the type of player I am and what I transmit on the field. I’m going to try to pull everyone in to face the upcoming matches as they come.”
Though Head Coach and Technical Director Brian Clarhaut will not be on the sidelines on Saturday due to red card suspension, Assistant Coach Jon Burklo is ready to step up and help guide the team in search of victory.
Phoenix will come ready to compete and seek redemption for their last two losses to El Paso, also knowing that a win would see them equalize Locomotive on points in the standings.
They will have to do it without Manuel Arteaga, Rising’s leading goal scorer (11) and shot taker (42) this season, who was suspended last week against San Antonio FC. In his absence, Phoenix will look to Danny Trejo, who trails behind Arteaga with 10 goals, to lead the frontline.
“Jon will go in and know what he needs to do; he’s been a big part of this process,” Clarhaut said about Burklo. “We will have a plan with the technical staff and how we want to approach this game. We’ll be as prepared as we can heading into Phoenix.”